WHOSE IS IT?

Huge ar­eas of Canada were never in­cluded in Treaties. Canada calls th­ese First Nation lands un­ceded. What should hap­pen to them?

Kayak (Canada) - - YOUR STORY -

UN­CEDED land has never been cov­ered by a Treaty.

The Par­lia­ment build­ings, home of the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment, sit on un­ceded land of the Al­go­nquins of On­tario. Th­ese First Na­tions state they still hold all rights to the ter­ri­tory, which cov­ers 36,000 square kilo­me­tres. The city coun­cil in St. John’s, N.L., starts its meet­ings with a state­ment that the prov­ince of Newfoundland and Labrador is the un­ceded land of Beothuk, Mi’kmaq and Labrador In­dige­nous peo­ples. Many cities, churches, schools and other or­ga­ni­za­tions across the coun­try are now mak­ing First Nation land ac­knowl­edge­ment state­ments.

The land where Van­cou­ver now stands is the tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Wau­tuth First Na­tions. Which na­tions should be able to dis­cuss Treaties with the gov­ern­ment, or be rec­og­nized as hav­ing rights to the land? Most of Bri­tish Columbia is un­ceded ter­ri­tory. First Na­tions never agreed to share their an­ces­tral lands there through Treaties or any other agree­ments. In 2014 Canada’s Supreme Court said the Tsil­hqot’in Nation in B.C. still owned its tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory be­cause it never made a Treaty. That de­ci­sion ap­plies to all First Na­tions lands not cov­ered by a Treaty.

Mon­treal is on un­ceded Mo­hawk ter­ri­tory.

If you were in charge, what would you do about un­ceded land in Canada? What would you do about claims that Treaties were not fair to First Na­tions, who saw them as agree­ments to share land rather than deals to give it up?

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